Interview – Elia Viviani Stage 1 Winner – Aviva Tour of Britain 2015

 

Elia Viviani Stage 1 Winner ToB 2015 by Cycling Shorts

Elia Viviani of Team Sky wins stage 1 of the Aviva Tour of Britain in a final sprint against Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. Elia talks to CyclingShorts.cc and the assembled media after the race.

 

Elia Viviani of Team Sky wins stage 1 of the Aviva Tour of Britain in a final sprint against Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel.
Elia talks to CyclingShorts.cc and the assembled media after the race.

 

Victory For ONE Pro Cycling’s Chris Opie

All images ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

 

Bunch Sprint Along The Riverside in Stockton-On-Tees Gives Victory For ONE Pro Cycling’s Chris Opie.

 

ERS-Grand-Prix-Stockton-Map_1431424509After three and a half hours and ten circuits out of town, the peloton returned for the final six Riverside laps and the conclusion of the fifth Stockton-On-Tees Festival of Cycling Grand Prix.

The race burst into life with one final lap, around four miles remaining, as the long time two man breakaway of NFTO’s Ian Bibby and ONE Pro Cycling’s George Aitkins looked like it would possibly stay away, slowly began to fade.

There was plenty of attacking out on the main course, many of the top riders breaking free, but never got much further than around thirty seconds.

At one point thirteen riders gained some momentum, and all the big teams were represented.

Approaching the final few main laps, Madison Genesis formed on front of the peloton, and the chase got underway.

Heading back into town, it still looked like the two leaders would stay away, having around thirty seconds advantage.

With half the Riverside circuits complete, No-one team had took-up the challenge of finally closing the gap.

An arrowhead formed on the front of the peloton, with JLT Condor leading them along. The gap had been reduced to fifteen seconds.

Team Raleigh GAC’s Evan Oliphant made a bid for a long one with two laps left, but JLT Condor’s Richard Handley marked the move. News came that the leading pair Atkins and Bibby had been caught around the backside of the course.

As the riders returned onto the Riverside Road for the bell lap, the teams once again formed into lead-out trains, battling for position, with George Atkins of ONE Pro Cycling in the front position.

The pace increased significantly, shelling all but the strongest riders.

It wasn’t long before the leaders where back in sight crossing the river for the final push.

Opie took the honors, with NFTO’s Jonny McEvoy taking second. Team Raleigh GAC’s Sam Lowe took third.

Team Raleigh GAC’s Steve Lampier started the race in the leaders red jersey and has extended his lead to one-hundred and twenty-eight points with Team Wiggin’s Andrew Tennant second at seventy-nine points. Third overall a point behind is ONE Pro Cycling’s Yanto Barker.

Raleigh GAC lead the Team Points Standing by a narrow margin from ONE Pro Cycling. NFTO are in third position.

 

Top Ten Results

1 Chris Opie One Pro Cycling

2 Jonathan McEvoy NFTO

3 Sam Lowe Raleigh GAC

4 Evan Oliphant Raleigh GAC

5 Graham Briggs JLT Condor

6 David McGowan Pedal Heaven RT

7 James Lowsley-Williams NFTO

8 Steve Lampier Raleigh GAC

9 William Bjergfelt  SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team

10 Ian Wilkinson Raleigh GAC

 

Elite Road Series 2015

Spring Cup

  • Chorley GP 04 April 2015
  • Tour of the Reservoir Two Day 11-12 April 2015
  • Cycle Wiltshire 10 May 2015

Grand Prix Series

  • Stafford Kermesse 04 July 2015
  • Stockton Festival of Cycling 12 July 2015
  • Ryedale GP 19 July 2015
  • Grand Prix of Wales 09 August 2015
  • Leicester Castle Classic Kermesse 16 August 2015

Full Results can be found on British Cycling Website

Stockton-On-Tees has put a successful bid in for the 2016 National Road Race Championships. Further details will be released in the near future.

My photos are regularly updated on https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 Round 2 – Motherwell

All images ©www.chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc

 

Local girl Katie Archibald rode off the front of the bunch, to win round two of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.

Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International’s Katie Archibald made her move after the first Sprint in Motherwell. Team-mate Gabby Shaw had begun to stretch the peloton out in the early laps of the race.

Race leader by default, Nikki Juniper had won the Sprint Jersey in Round one. So Jessie Walker (RST Racing Team) will wear the Sprint Jersey in Motherwell.

With round one winner Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness) not present, meant Juniper was the next placed highest rider to wear the Leaders Jersey.

Juniper, Walker and Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda) made the uphill sprint towards the line for the first three places, with Shaw taking fourth place.

Archibald didn’t contest the sprint, and this gave her the advantage of riding off the front for the bunch as they all recovered from that effort.

Gaining twenty to thirty meters along the top flatter part of the course, Archibald, a supreme pursuiter, rode steadily away. Roe & Juniper were unable to match her pace.

Archibald took the next set of Points, with Emily Nelson (Team USN) and Annasley Park (Team Giordana Triton) taking second and third.

As Archibald approached the finish line, the chasing bunch of eighteen girls where almost a lap down.

Riding over the line with ease, the main bunch where left to sprint it out for the remaining positions.

In a big bunch Sprint, Nikki Juniper took second place with Eileen Roe third. Lydia Boylan (Team WNT) took fourth and Katie Curtis (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, fifth.

Nikki Junipers Reaction: “We were only going to attain the Sprints Jersey”, “and we got the first prime”. “But no one heard the klaxon for the next prime”. “We knew Katie had probably got the next one”. “There was a bit of confusion on the Points Jersey”. “But apparently I’m still in it”.

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 leader – Round 2 – Nikki Juniper by Cycling Shorts

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Results: Motherwell

1: Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 0:39:33.541

2: Nikki Juniper Team Giordana Triton 0:41:02.815

3: Eileen Roe Wiggle Honda

4: Lydia Boylan Team WNT

5: Katie Curtis Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

6: Jessie Walker RST Racing Team

7: Emily Kay Team USN

8: Annasley Park Team Giordana Triton

9: Lucy Martin Matrix Fitness

10: Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

11: Henrietta Colborne Team Jadan

12: Rebecca Nixon Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Science

13: Jennifer George Les Filles

14: Charline Joiner Team WNT

15: Hannah Walker Team WNT

16: Manon Lloyd Team USN

17: Genevieve Whitson WV Avanti

18: Mel Lowther Matrix Fitness

19: Lauren Creamer Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

20: Emily Nelson Team USN

 

Overall after Round Two

1 Nikki Juniper 37 Team Giordana Triton

2 Katie Archibald 36 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

3 Lydia Boylan 31 Team WNT

4 Jessie Walker 30 RST Racing Team

5 Annasley Park 24 Team Giordana Triton

6 Laura Trott 20 Matrix Fitness

7 Charline Joiner 19 Team WNT

8 Dani King 19 Wiggle Honda

9 Eileen Roe 18 Wiggle Honda

10 Manon Lloyd 18 Team USN

 

Team Rankings after Round 2

1 Team Giordana Triton 78

2 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 72

3 Team WNT 56

4 Matrix Fitness 45

5 Team USN 33

6 Team Jadan 18

7 IKON Mazda 8

 

Sprint Rankings after Round 2

1 Nikki Juniper 14 Team Giordana Triton

2 Jessie Walker 12 RST Racing Team

3 Katie Archibald 7 Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

4 Elinor Barker 4 Matrix Fitness

4 Emily Nelson 4 Team USN

 

Next race in the Matrix Fitness GP Series is on June 02nd in Croydon.

Matrix Fitness GP Series leader Nikki Juniper Chats

Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 leader – Round 2 – Nikki Juniper by Cycling Shorts

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Nikki Juniper of Team Giordana Triton talks to Chris Maher of CyclingShorts.cc about her current lead in the Matrix Fitness GP Series 2015 after round two in Motherwell.

 

Read the race report here.

Four Years On…

Over the last four years, one of the major regrets that I have had is the sport’s inability to retain female riders.  I’ve seen some really promising talent appear for half a season, never to be seen again, some have been around for even less than that.  Many find the sport hard, or just want to have a go to try it out only to disappear a week later.  But if we want women’s cycling to grow, everybody has to stick at it, so with that in mind, I thought I would share my reasons for competing with you, in the hope that if somebody like me can do it, maybe you can too.

A bit of background

It’s been four years since I started competing again.  Back then, I was working restricted hours, suffering from chronic fatigue, which meant that I had no energy to train after work and, even after the 45 minute circuit race, I fell asleep on the way home as I was so tired.

A Woman’s Guide to Racing (Part 1)

Time trialling on V718 in 2012

Following the 2011 season, I swapped medication under the guidance of my consultant neurologist.  I have epilepsy, which is controlled, but my new consultant wouldn’t let me come off medication whilst I wanted to ride my bike and do all the things that most people take for granted.  After being on sodium valproate for 15 years, I swapped to levetiracetam, which was a relatively new drug.

By March 2012, I had lost over two and half stone and for the first time in longer than I care remember, I could think much more clearly.  I was still tired (I had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue in December 2010) but the cognitive behaviour therapy that I had had to undergo as the treatment for the chronic fatigue had helped me to manage things much more effectively.

A slow start

The first few races I did in 2012, I got dropped the first time, had a woman shout at me because she didn’t think I knew what I was doing (I did, I was just shattered), and all I could physically manage to do was ride in 9 events, three of which were men’s road races, with the rest being closed circuit races.

A Woman’s Guide to Racing (Part 3): What training should I do?

Racing at Salt Ayre in 2012

One of the problems, I came to realise, with losing 20% of my own bodyweight, was the loss in power and strength that came with it.  We went to Majorca in September 2012, and we had to change the chainring to a 36 because I wasn’t strong enough to use the 39. The longest ride I could manage was about 60 miles, which was to and from Sa Calobra, not only because I wasn’t particularly fit, but also because of the remnants of the chronic fatigue.  Looking back at it now, that holiday helped my recovery as it kick started my winter training block, and reminded me that I could actually ride a bike!

Development, development, development

One of the good things about being involved in cycling in years gone by is that it meant that turning up to races, you knew what you were talking about.  However, I soon found that if it hadn’t happened on Facebook and Twitter, it hadn’t happened.  At this point, I was only a third category rider, so if I suggested something to anybody else, I always got the response “what do you know?” which got on my nerves no end.  So, I paid my entrance fee and qualified as a coach through the Association of British Cycling Coaches, as I couldn’t afford the pathway through British Cycling and there was no funding available for me as I live in a region where there’s a plethora of BC coaches.

By the end of 2012, we were getting a women’s road race league set up for 2013 as well as a development team for women in the North West, both of which are different stories, but it became obvious that the development pathway in women’s cycling was missing, and is something which we have hopefully started to build on now for the rest of the UK.

Coaching with Huw and Carley

Coaching with Huw and Carley

National Series and National Championships

In 2013, I took part in a few National Series races, but it became increasingly obvious to me that there were limits to what I was physically capable of achieving.  I was working over 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, and with the additional work that I was doing trying to develop women’s cycling in the evenings (mainly articles, meetings and phone calls about the best way to improve the women’s scene with various people) and the odd bit of coaching and mentoring, it meant that I was doing probably around 60 hours a week, including my day job.  I still struggled to do any mid week training and racing in the evenings was an absolute no-go, so I was basically stuck with a small amount of time, which meant that I couldn’t do enough quality training to keep up with the better riders.

In 2014, there seemed to be a change in start times too, which saw many of the events with a 9:30 am start time.  One of the problems with epilepsy is that seizures occur as a result of triggers.  One of my triggers is tiredness and I find it extremely difficult to get up early to go and ride my bike (not even racing) as it takes my brain longer to wake up than most.  So it came to pass that I couldn’t afford to do all of the National Series events, for three reasons – I couldn’t afford it financially (I am self-funded and therefore it becomes expensive staying over before each event), I couldn’t afford the time off work (I only have a finite amount of holidays available) and I couldn’t afford it physically (in the event that the worst happened and I had a bad reaction to the early start), which is also a massive mental obstacle for me to get over.

But it isn’t only road race events that this affects – I can’t enter any time trials on Sundays because they all start too early, which also means that (on the whole), I can’t enter National Championship events either, or the RTTC Classic events.

(c) Ellen Isherwood

(c) Ellen Isherwood

What training do I do?

My training is pretty limited, as I have to keep an eye on my energy levels.  I don’t get home until six o’clock and I generally have admin to do with regards to the Racing Chance Foundation (from sorting the management accounts, to writing/updating the website, to trying to organise races), so mid week it’s generally limited to 40 minutes, three or four evenings a week.  At the weekend, if I’m racing, I’ll generally do a two hour ride on the Saturday (if I’m racing on the Sunday) or a three hour ride on Sunday (if I’m racing on a Saturday).  If I get to do more than 120 miles or 8 hours in a week, that’s a big week for me.  During winter, I tend to aim for 150 miles a week, but again that’s based on the majority of my riding being at the weekend (usually about 7 hours a weekend).

Racing at Tameside 2015

Racing at Tameside 2015

Why do I race?

It has since become apparent that the chronic fatigue that I suffered from between 2006 and 2012 was a side effect of taking sodium valproate.  After coming off that drug, I was like a different person, mentally and physically.  That being said, that drug was 40 years old and we knew what the majority of the side effects were (which is why I don’t have any children of my own).  The new drug only came into existence about 10 to 15 years ago, so it’s relatively new in the grand scheme of things.  I don’t know what the long term side effects of this drug are, but I intend to remain as fit as possible in order to keep any horrible side effects at bay (one side effect of taking anti-convulsants is a tendency for depression) and, unfortunately, I don’t know what I’ll be able to do when I get older as I don’t know what the long term effects will be on my kidneys and liver.

But in the meantime, I intend to support, help and persuade as many women as possible to take up competitive cycling as it not only keeps you fit, it gives you the self confidence you need to be assertive in every day life, which is where the Racing Chance Foundation comes in.

Every time I get on a start line, it’s an achievement.  I’m not bothered about points – I know that I’m never going to be a world beater because I don’t want to be, I just enjoy taking part.  I do know that it keeps me fit – since 2011, my resting heart rate has dropped my around 30 bpm, which I choose to take as my heart showing me that it’s fitter.  Unfortunately, I need something to keep me motivated and the racing fills that gap, even if a lot of the racing I do is actually training!

If you want to find out more about how to take the next steps in competitive cycling, visit the Racing Chance Foundation for some handy information and help make a difference to women’s cycling.

A Woman’s Guide to Racing – Part 8 – Road Racing

Once you have got a few circuit races under your belt, you might like to have a go at road racing, after all, it’s what many people believe that cycling is all about!  However, there a few differences between road racing and circuit racing, so I thought it would be useful to explain them here.

The Open Road

Yes, that’s right, the majority of road racing in this country, whether you are male or female, is on the open road. That means that you are on the public highway and therefore have to abide by the rules of the road – for those of you who aren’t sure what I mean by this (and I have raced with a few (men and women) who don’t appear to be aware of this), it means that you stay on the left hand side of the road, because in the UK we drive on the left.  With the races being on the open road, this means that you have to be aware of other road users, including cars and lorries that come in the opposite direction.  If somebody goes on to the wrong side of the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle it can have horrific consequences, so you MUST be aware AT ALL TIMES that you have a duty to yourself and your fellow competitors to ride sensibly.  Have a look at my Dance Space article about giving yourself room.

(c) Martin Holden Photography

(c) Martin Holden Photography

Races are longer

This seems like I am stating the obvious but I will do anyway.  The races are longer (generally between 30 and 60 miles for both men and women) which means that the pace tends to be a bit more consistent than in a circuit race, helped by the fact that you probably won’t be sprinting out of a corner every 10 seconds like you sometimes end up doing in a circuit race.  Field sizes are generally larger as road races are more expensive to run and therefore need to have bigger fields, but that helps with the race distance as you get more shelter (in theory at least).  As the races are longer, you also need to have more stamina and endurance than you would in a circuit race, and need to ensure that you carry food with you for eating during the race (see my Practice! Practice! Practice! article for advice in this respect).  This can also mean that those riders who are great in circuit races may not be as good at longer road races and vice versa, so if you don’t think that the flat circuit races are for you, why not have a go at road racing?!

(c) Martin Holden Photography

(c) Martin Holden Photography

There’s different terrain

One of the limiting factors of circuit races is that they tend to be pan flat (there are exceptions, especially where town centre circuit races are concerned) and usually finish in a bunch sprint, so it can become a bit demoralising if you aren’t keen on being a sprinter.  However, road race circuits come in all manner of shapes and sizes, from shorter “kermesse” style races to longer circuits with a couple of climbs and descents in them.  Don’t expect to be great at everything, but certainly try and have a go at different circuits to see what suits you best.

Start at the right level

The good news is that road races can be a lot easier for novices than circuit races, especially those road races that are aimed at 2/3/4 category women, due to the length of the race and there being less corners.  The average speed for regional level races tends to be anywhere between 22 mph and 24 mph depending on the weather and the circuit and more often than not the pace eases up significantly, allowing you to have a bit of a breather.

Staying with the bunch is the key to success

This sounds really easy but it can be a bit of a nightmare when you are new to racing.  Many people will happily let the other riders go up the road if the pace goes up a bit, never to see the bunch again, but the road race that you entered then becomes a time trial, and you don’t get the same enjoyment for spending 35 miles of a 40 mile race off the back of the bunch.  Trust me, it may seem like really hard work at times when you are riding at a pace which you don’t feel comfortable with, however nine times out of ten the pace will ease off slightly and you get an opportunity to recover before the pace increases again.  Road racing is supposed to be hard and difficult, where your legs and lungs are burning as you try to keep up with people who are slightly fitter and faster than you, but the feeling at the end is worth it!

(c) http://martinholdenphotography.com

Be true to yourself

By this, I mean “don’t let other riders bully you in to doing something that you don’t want to do”. There will be many occasions in races where more experienced riders will shout at you to do some work.  You don’t have to do what they tell you to – it’s your entry fee and your race – but sometimes they might be saying it for good reason. Keep your common sense in tow and do what you think is right – if you’re about to blow up, don’t feel as if you have to do a turn on the front, sit in the wheels, get your breath back and you might be somewhere when it comes to the finish.

Road racing is fun, but it is hard work and is supposed to hurt your legs, so don’t give up as soon as they start hurting – battle through that pain for a couple of minutes at least (unless it is pain in relation to an injury when you should stop immediately) and you never know, you might surprise yourself!

(c) Martin Holden Photography

(c) Martin Holden Photography

Click below to read:
Part One – Where Do I Start?
Part Two – What Do I Enter?
Part Three – What training should I do?
Part Four – Practice! Practice! Practice!
Part Five – Are You Ready To Race?
Part Six – Race Day
Part Seven – Circuit Racing

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